Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Historical Significance

No matter what your political "leanings" may be, today was a day for the history books. It took almost 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation for our country to officially recognize that segregation was wrong, wrong, wrong. Just over 40 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, we have the inauguration of our first black president. I am amazed at this, and, quite honestly, thrilled that it happened in my lifetime.

I am concerned with many of the positions President Obama has taken on life issues, with particular regard to abortion. However, I do not believe this is the end of our country, as some ultra-conservatives have espoused. Am I concerned? Of course. Do I disagree with many of the stands he takes on certain issues? Definitely. Do I think God can change the course of things??? Absolutely!

I DO believe that we should be praying for our president, his family, our new vice-president and his family, the new cabinet, the new Congress, and for all in leadership in our country, states, and communities. The Scriptures tell us plainly that we should pray for all in leadership. Let us do so, surrounding this history-making president with our supplications on his behalf.

God bless you, Mr. President. May His presence go before you. May His Spirit guide you in every decision you make. May His protecting hand be upon you. And may we, His people, pledge to uphold you in prayer each and every day of your presidency. Amen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Some Friday Thoughts

How is the weather in your part of the country? Our part of the country is in the deep freeze right now. Our windchill this morning was at -35! Wow! The kids are glad for a couple of extra days off school. Unfortunately, I still have to go to work. I'm trying to stay inside as much as possible, though!

We have our Internet service back at home now. However, I'm still not finding much time to blog. I mostly just check my e-mail (and still not every day). I'll do my best, though, to at least check for comments when I'm online.

This morning, the boys and I were reading the daily Mass readings. The gospel reading was Mark 2:1-12. I told them I have always loved this story. I can't imagine what it would be like to be the homeowner, and suddenly someone is breaking through the roof of my house! I can't imagine how the people standing below must have felt when pieces of roof started coming down, either. I can't grasp the joy the man on the pallet must have felt when his sins were forgiven, and then, he was suddenly able to walk, too! Two miracles in one day! But I think I can understand how the scribes felt. I mean, how could a mere man forgive sins? How could this simple-looking Carpenter forgive sins? But the truth was, Jesus wasn't just a man. He was "the" Man. And He could indeed forgive sins. As proof of the inner work He had just done in the paralytic, Jesus also healed the man outwardly.

The great things about this story are: 1) it's absolutely true--it really happened; 2) Jesus addressed the man's greatest need first--the need of forgiveness and healing of sin; 3) Jesus showed His deep love for the man in also healing his outward need of paralysis. A truly amazing story!

I don't know what needs you have in your life. I personally know several people who need a great miracle of physical healing today. But, even more tragically, I know many more people who need the miracle of spiritual healing today. They need to have the sins in their soul forgiven. They need their innermost spiritual being cleansed from the paralysis of sin. As I told my boys, the man on the stretcher had two choices: remain crippled forever, but have his soul wiped clean of sin; or, have his ability to walk restored, yet spend eternity separated from God. In the beauty of it all, Jesus gave him both! I have to say, though, for those I know who are not walking with God, my prayer is first for their soul. For I know their physical healing will come one way or another. The physical problems will last only for this lifetime, which is indeed brief. But the state of their soul is forever...which is indeed a long time...

Those are my thoughts for this cold Friday morning. I'm headed for a cup of hot peppermint tea now, friends. God bless you all, and give you a good weekend!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The After-Holiday Review

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. (Actually, for us, it is still the Christmas season, and will end this Sunday with the remembrance of the Baptism of the Lord.) We spent our Christmas day with my in-laws. In spite of the fact that several among us had the stomach flu, we survived and did have a good time!
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In response to Jaybird's question: Yes, I do have a Facebook page. I signed up when some old friends requested me as their "friends". So if you request me as a friend, be forewarned: I am definitely NOT a Facebook junkie! I check my messages and respond as I'm able. But there is only my profile pic (which is the same as the one on my blog), and I rarely post anything. I just don't have the time, between work and family and all. But, it has really been a great way to reconnect with people from the past.
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I have to admit something here. For all my good intentions, the peace I craved for my Advent season just never seemed to be there. I longed for it so desperately. But I felt like I was constantly running "here" or "there". I was shopping, preparing, doing whatever needed doing...I just felt like a tightly strung violin string at all times. For the most part, it was my own fault. I truly did not feel like I could relax. I felt like I needed to be in constant motion. Life just seemed to interfere with my good intentions.

But then I thought about that, and realized that Christ's birth came in the midst of that, too. "What?" you ask. Life. Life as usual. Oh, yes, the governor had called for a census, so there were more travellers than usual. The inns were full. Bethlehem was crowded. But the citizens of Bethlehem were still going about their lives. Working, playing, etc. Life. Christ comes into our lives, too, in the midst of the usual "stuff". He wants to be with us on the daily journey. That's what is so amazing about the name Emmanuel: God WITH us. When we're running to get the kids from school, picking up a "few" things from Wal-Mart, wrapping those last-minute gifts...He is WITH us. And the other amazing thing (and truly it is wonderful) is that it doesn't end with the Christmas season. He is a 24-hour-a-day-7-days-a-week-365-days-a-year God WITH us!

So as I close this little post, let that thought sink deep into your heart. God is WITH you, no matter what your day, week, or year may bring!

God bless!